How To Use Reminders In iOS 5… The Right Way [How-To]



We’re crazy about iOS 5’s Reminders, but unless you know how to tap into their power, Reminders just seem like a simple to-do list. Take it from us… Reminders is much, much more. Here’s how to use Reminders in iOS 5, the right way.

Creating a New Reminder:

  • To create a new reminder, open up the Reminders app and hit the button labeled with a plus symbol in the top right corner.
  • Give your reminder a title and then tap the return key.
  • To set the priority, alert time, or to add notes to your reminder, simply tap on the reminder’s title. You can also delete a reminder from within this menu.
  • To set a reminder by location, tap the ‘Remind Me’ tab and then switch the ‘By Location’ switch on.
Managing Lists:
  • To create a new list, tap the Edit button in the top left corner and select ‘Create New List…’. Give your list a name and then tap Done.
  • You can delete lists by pressing the same Edit button and then tapping the red icon alongside the list’s name.
  • To rearrange lists, tap Edit and then drag your lists into the order you’d like to see them in.
Syncing Reminders With iCloud
  • Your reminders should automatically sync across all of your devices as soon as you login with iCloud. But if they don’t, navigate to the iCloud preferences in the Settings app.
  • Ensure that syncing for the Reminders app is turned on.
  • Kevin

    During beta, my iPad 2 had Reminders by location as an option, now that option is missing with the release version.

  • Alexcandy

    When I go to reminders, there is no + to add a new item. Any idea why?

  • Soho22

    Just another thing that’s missing from iPad for no good reason. No I don’t want Siri, alarms, countdowns, world clocks, geofencing, widgets, camera lock screen button eyc etc. WHY WOULD I.

  • MacHead

    4S…”Siri, remind me to take my pill at 5PM” “Siri, remind me to rent a movie from redbox when I leave work” ……Siri is going to make life much easier than that up there!!

  • John Branham

    same here

  • dale2000

    So… uhh… I have experienced the Tinge of Disappoint… there seems to be no way to manually enter an address in Reminders unless it’s already in your address book.  Which.. is.. stupid, cuz I’m not putting the Quik-E-Mart into my address book just because I need to pick up some milk.

    Someone know a way around this?

  • ttrelva

    my original iPad doesn’t have multi gestures (4 finger swipe and pinch) neither the geolocation in reminders :|

  • Medinavm62

    same here. i dont really want to do a restore and try to download again with all the problems everyone is having

  • Davemc0

    How do I get Reminders to sync with Outlook Tasks? There’s no option for it in iTunes like there is for Notes, Contacts, Calendar, Mail Accounts, etc. What’s wrong?

  • handycam

    missing on my iphone 4 as well.

  • Ashurii

    Same here :(

  • Rheba

    Is it just me or is there no Repeat option like in the screenshot?

  • Mike

    Can confirm that my iPhone 4 has Reminders by location. You might need to make sure you are using the right list. I can only do “By Location” for the iCloud list, if I try and do it for Exhchange or Yahoo! it doesn’t come up.

  • Intake66

    No location reminders for the 3GSor is this a bug? Also noticed the camera quick launch comes and goes. Amy ideas?

  • Intake66

    There doesn’t seem to be any location reminders for the 3GS , unless this is a bug?? And I noticed that the quick launch camera icon on the lock screen comes and goes.

  • stressball

    I found out i HAD to have reminders synced to something, like iCloud, to get it to work. 

    Just go in to your iCloud settings and switch on the syncing of reminders, and you should get that + sign back. Thats the only thing I use my iCloud account for. :)

  • Le_Re

    Any news on this?

  • Neurocor

    location reminders is only for iphone4 and 4s, not for iphone 3gs and iPad 1/2.

  • Medinavm62

    you’re a life saver, i have 3 email accounts setup on my phone and reminders was turned on in iCloud, and on my MobileMe account but wasn’t for my work account. Once i turned on reminders for my work account the “+” appeared. Thanks for the tip!

  • Doug

    actually, I’m not seeing location reminders on the iPhone 4.

  • Doug

    Yep, thanks for that. I just found it on my iPhone 4 too. I’m connected to an exchange To Do list, a Yahoo! Reminders list, and iCloud.

    I found the location option when I created reminders for iCloud and Yahoo!, but not for Exchange.

  • Tom lewis

    Drive to quick-e-mart and use the current location option? ; )

  • Pascal Sahli

    Same here…. No location on my iphone4

  • Guest

    I see them.  When editing hit the “remind me” area, then turn the switch next to “at a location” to “on” – then pick your location and “when I arrive” or “when I leave.”  A rest “leaving home” reminder this AM triggered when I made it about 1.5 miles away from home.  

    I imagine the resolution of this feature is where folks’ happiness with this feature will vary.  1.5 miles is too far if I want to remind myself to stop at the store 0.5 miles from work or for someone who walks instead of driving to commute…but smaller resolutions might have drained the battery even faster (GPS on more of the time), caused false alarms, etc.

  • Guest

    Note that the repeat is not on the screen where you set reminders, but on the screen where you edit other attributes of the task (priority, notes, etc)…and only shows up after you’ve set and saved a time-based reminder.

  • Jwdsail

    I have to say, that the Reminders was the one feature of iOS 5 I was really excited about… In actual use however, it’s a let down..

    The only “Location” sensitivity is “When I arrive/leave”.. Not as useful as I’d hoped. 

    I had hoped that I could set a reminder for when I was 3 or maybe even 5 miles away from the pet store to grab cat food, or when I was 3-5 mi away from a grocery store with a hard to find item, or a reminder as I drove down a beach road to pull over and get a photo for a friend of a rental property…so that I wouldn’t forget and remember only when I got back home.. 

    (many places like these are across a toll bridge from me, so it’s a real issue that does happen, more often than I’d like to admit)

    Also, only being able to set the location based on addresses in your address book exasperates this limitation.. I had hoped that I could have a choice of locations in my address book, or select “other…” and pick a location on a map… If this was an option, the above limitation could be worked around, I could set a reminder for when I arrived at an intersection on a map close to somewhere I may need a reminder…

    As I’m still using an iPhone 4, I wonder, will Siri read these reminders out loud? Again, this would improve the actual usefulness for hands-free while on the road reminders…

    I hope these aren’t improvements we’ll have to wait for iOS6 for…

  • knit247

    Do I *have* to set a time for reminders if I set a date?  It looks like I do, but I hope that I am missing something simple, as I do not need to put a reminder time on every task.  Thanks for any info!

  • Mark

    You must go to Settings/ icloud/ and then turn ON Reminders to get the location service to work.  I just figured this one out.

  • Mark

    I don’t believe that they will.  Only the tasks should sync with outlook.  But don’t quote me on that.  Tasks should automatically sync by default.

  • olen28

    Is there a way to add to your reminder list from a desktop computer?

  • katcb

    What do I have to do to get the + sign on reminders? Someone please help !

  • J Brady

    my outlook tasks synced automatically with exchange

  • boodium

    if you find out let me know!

  • SulaymanF

    Yes, using the Reminder list in iCal for example should sync. I think there may be a way to do it via Outlook on windows as well.

  • Renwar6

    i can’t get reminders to update my iPhone 3S with my iPad 2 what can I do to get it to work?

  • Stealthreg

    i updated my 3gs and started to use reminders, I pressed edit but there is no create new list option.

  • Tony Wang

    Can anyone check if priority is working? I have been testing priority feature but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything? Nothing is arranged, priority high and low doesn’t have any effect on my phone?

  • Bebox66

    “my amnesia” app is a reminder that available from ios4.3

  • Bjerring

    If you happen to have an exchange email/cal account as default on your device, reminders will be added to this, and for this location doesn’t work. Could be it – it was for me :-) 

  • Joe Regular

    Xcode seems to be free on the mac app store (the last time i checked)

  • Pfm9488

    I have 3gs iphone and trying to use the calendar and there is no + sign anymore?
    Can anyone help?

  • lasthopeofhumanity

    No order by feature, can’t order pre-set lists in left hand panel. No colour coding option, very little customisation.

    Wow. This is one of the poorest attempts at a professional app that I’ve seen. Small time Android developers do better than this, although Android apps can sometimes look cheap as hell.

    Apple have taken the simplistic approach way too far this time. It just feels like a lazy cop out. I’m normally extremely positive about iOS on the iPad, by the way.

  • Enrico_Rizzo

    Why doesn’t reminders let you use the Map for locations? There are some things I do not need in my contacts list, such as certain stores or other places I may go.  I would like to be reminded of what I need to pick up when I walk into K Mart, but in order to do that I need to have it in my contacts list? Or what if it is a location, and not necessarily an address? Am I missing something, or is there really no way to do this?

  • SVlicious

    The only clumsy workaround I’ve found is to make a contact called “locations” and then add different addresses with custom labels, either input manually or from the map search. It’s still a contact, but at least only one.

  • Guest

    Is there a way to purge the completed items or do I have to delete each one?

  • Rcvangeel

    You need to switch on Reminders in iCloud. This sounds, and is, ridiculous, but that is what I needed to do. Reminders is an incredibly poorly developed app, both as a concept and in execution. Its complexity and poor operation are in stark contrast with the strength and simplicity of iOS itself.

  • Banna

    Laughing, it works some what on a 3GS.

  • Banna

    Poor directions.  Not CLEAR at all.

  • Simon Spence

    bravo…well said.  I’ve been using Things across all my devices and Things enables me to manage complex projects and all manner of tactical and strategic todos.  This Reminder app is only fit to remind me to collect milk on the way home!

    I really hope that i’m missing something, can someone please show me where the magic button is that turns on some grown up business like functionality.

  • SHORTstopp99

    Don’t forget Calculator and Multitasking Gestures (Multitasking Gestures exclusive to the iPad 2)

  • Cagdas

    I cannot agree more…what is the point of losing respect to all the good work you’ve done by doing stupid mistakes like this…

  • Rick

    Reminders DOES NOT synch over your iPhone cable…it only works over iCloud.  If you don’t have internet access at your location, Reminders is useless.  You can’t synch your calendar without the internet.  Not too useful if you are trying to keep track of things on vacation when you don’t have internet access for your computer, eh?

  • BB

    Reminders is an iOS 5 application (not in calendar – did you update yet?

  • Jspags

    Reminders is a useless app just like FaceTime and iMessage. My friend had an idea for a location based reminder and I thought apple beat him to it. Way off, I thought reminder would remind me to go to Walmart when I was near one. It does not. My opinion most of ios5 was a bunch of hype. Not to mention I lost Siri on my 4 which worked just fine but apple claimed it doesn’t.

  • Gail King

    thank you for clearing that up/I’ve been tryng to make that feature work on my 3gs for hours, LOL

  • Help911411

    Wow, there are a lot of people dissing this app because they don’t understand how to use it. The app is powerful, works even if you do not have wifi at your location, will allow you to use maps. If you enter the reminder on your iPhone, who cares about syncing it, unless you want to take your iPad and leave your phone somewhere else i guess. Btw, if you need to use it to remind you to go to Wal-Mart when you are near one…. well, you’ll probably never understand it anyway, nuff said.


    OK why no integration with calendar? My old Sinclair organiser integrated calendar, to dos, reminders and lists in one app 20 years ago. Couldn’t be that hard to do…

  • Greg Jorgensen

    I make a reminder to call someone and add the number. The number is not recognized as a phone number so I can’t just tap it — I have to copy from the reminder and paste to the phone. Pretty big fail for a PHONE.

  • Stacy Rhect

    No way to reorder reminders (I’m not talking about lists; you hit Edit and drag them, I know!). I thought there’d be an update, by now. I used to have an iPhone then I switched to AssDroid. Damn! I love Apple products and iOS but they just can’t seem to retain me. How is it that the more expensive phone with the more expensive plan  is less useful than the cheaper Android. You can have functionality on iPhone but the you have to go to the iStore and download other apps that can look just as bad as what’s on Android, which defeats the whole purpose. Anyway, the Notes app on iOS handles to-do’s pretty well.

  • Gabriele Tato Motta

    It Is very annoying to add locations only from contacts, I found an application (TooRemind) that has a nice map with colored circles and u can drop the pin and add a location. Way better!

  • Jonann

    You wouldn’t want Siri, alarms, countdowns, world clocks, etc. if you never went anywhere of did anything.  Why do you even have an iPad?  Get yourself a used Compaq with Widows 98.

  • MobileAppVault

    Hey guys,

    I’ve created an app to add faster contact information to your iPhone address book!
    Here is the itunes link:

    Maybe it could help you, too!